Microcin J25 (MccJ25) is a 21-residue plasmid-encoded ribosomally synthesized lariat-protoknot antibacterial peptide that targets bacterial RNA polymerase. MccJ25 consists of an 8-residue cycle followed by a 13-residue tail that loops back and threads through the cycle. We have performed systematic mutational scanning of MccJ25, constructing and analyzing more than 380 singly substituted derivatives of MccJ25. The results define residues important for production of MccJ25 (comprising synthesis of MccJ25 precursor, processing of MccJ25 precursor, export of mature MccJ25, and stability of mature MccJ25), inhibition of RNA polymerase, and inhibition of bacterial growth. The results show that only a small number of residues (three in the cycle and one in the threaded segment of the tail) are important for MccJ25 production. The results further show that only a small number of additional residues (two in the cycle and four in the threaded segment of the tail) are important for inhibition of transcription. The results open the way for design and construction of more potent MccJ25-based inhibitors of bacterial growth.